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User
Thread poster: Mauricio Coitiño
Welcome to the DTP Forum

VPineda
Guatemala
Local time: 23:45
English to Spanish
+ ...
Excellent topic for a forum¡ Mar 24, 2009

Congratulations Mauricio¡
I think this is going to be very helpful, specially for those, like me that are new about DTP for translation.
Vilma


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xxxNMR
France
Local time: 07:45
French to Dutch
+ ...
Thank you Mar 25, 2009

Thank you for this forum. I did DTP before becoming a full-time translator.


Nicole Schnell wrote:
Many translation agencies have their own DTP departments. Ha, ha. How is the poor DTP-guy supposed to know about the typographic rules of a foreign language? At times I have the feeling that blindness, aside from being cheap, is one of the major criteria for hiring. Being capable of "handling" a software is not sufficient. This is where the translator's responsibility for the finished product comes into play.

My favorite anecdote:
I outsourced a largish proofreading job. Everything was corrected, except the punctuation. "Oh, I was supposed to do that, too?", asked the proofreader. Who else is supposed to clean up this mess? Certainly not the DTP-person who, in this language, probably wouldn't be able to order a cup of coffee at a restaurant.

The problem is that someone has to do it. I worked in a DTP department of a translation agency, and I saw there that lots of translators even don't know the punctuation rules in their own language, don't want to use them and deliver Word files without punctation. After subcontracting a translation, I had to change everything: spaces before : ; ! ? or not, tons of double spaces, English quotation marks instead of French square quotation marks, etc. Here the reaction of the translators was not "Oh was I supposed to do that?" but: "No sorry, I am a translator, you asked me to translate, typesetting is not my job". I even once had a translator screeming at me that I was too difficult.


Something in general:
Translators usually tend to re-create a layout in word (e.g., when the text was converted from PDF), not realizing that the layouter has to remove all this well-meant formatting before he/she can actually work with it. What a waste of time unless it was part of the job and was paid in serious hourly rates.

This is of course true. If someone asks a translator to use a PDF and to deliver a Word-file, then it is totally useless to do DTP. He just has to concentrate on the translation and to deliver plain text. The only thing he can do is to indicate bold, type uppercase in uppercase and nothing more.


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Rafał Kwiatkowski  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 07:45
German to Polish
+ ...
Not so sure about this... Mar 25, 2009


It's just need CAT tools and DTP applications, but it also need some basic knowledge, i.e. change the necessary fonts after translation, when dealing with a DTP format document.


The translator needs to know how to prepare the files to the translation and how to reverse the conversion after the translation. I think that's all. For example if you translate EN to ETT/ETI and in the FM was used some exotic font TTF there's a question if the translator should map it (to the same but OTF or other BAL font) to retain the diacritics? NO, because this is job for the DTPer. There is possibility that knowing only the DTP Basics, the translator can damage the FM file when touching it (especially if there's SGML structurized FM), so please don't do anything with the files until You won't be sure that there's no risk.


Translators should be perfect.


Nobody's perfect.


I definitely need to learn how to understand how this fits into the quoting process: Should it be by page or by the hour? What is involved?


It's safer to propose hourly rate (safer for the both sides of the contract) but you have to do estimation for the client/agency because they have to do their own calculation like "hourly rate x estimation = dtp costs".


Translators usually tend to re-create a layout in word (e.g., when the text was converted from PDF), not realizing that the layouter has to remove all this well-meant formatting before he/she can actually work with it. What a waste of time unless it was part of the job and was paid in serious hourly rates.


You are wrong. In my over 4 years of dtp experience I’ve got many documents with the layout retained by the translator and that was very handy for me because the agency sent me the cleaned version (not bilingual) and if there were no layout and simple formatting I wouldn't be able to perform the task. (Maybe the agency thought that I’ll build a TM from the bilingual and use somewhere?!)


During translation, text tends to grow by 10-15%


Even up to 45-50% depending on the language pair (f.e. EN=>RU).


Usually, the translated document still has to fit within the same space on the page, with specific margins and white areas to maintain the original intended design and geometry.


Unfortunately you’re wrong because you have to fit in such way ONLY if you have instructions that this is "Page to Page (Page-2-Page)" layout! If there's flowing free publication there is no such need to use stretch and spread and any other such manipulations.


I also agree with Nicole that the correct use of n- and m-dashes, non-breaking spaces and straight and curly apostrophes/quotes is often overlooked at translation stage.


You need to know that there's no possibility to change the quotation marks for the right onces when translating mif files in ttx if at the preparation stage was checked option to seal the quotations with TAGs. Sometimes you’ll have to translate some (f.e.) qxp and the conversion from copyflow to the qxp won't be successful and the translation will be C&Ped into QXP without any special formatting, quotations etc.


These people have no idea on the languages they are handling. They export the text from the DTP program into a MS Word table or an Excel spreadsheet, and need it translated accurately, with all formatting (bolds, italics, underlines) by the translator.
Their hyphenhation will be only as good as the dictionary in their DTP appication. If anything is missing, it will remain untranslated.


Sorry, but probably you have no idea about the LSO stage and multiple DTP, LSO, FQC, LQA stages. In good agencies there are all errors eliminated.


Many translation agencies have their own DTP departments. Ha, ha. How is the poor DTP-guy supposed to know about the typographic rules of a foreign language? At times I have the feeling that blindness, aside from being cheap, is one of the major criteria for hiring. Being capable of "handling" a software is not sufficient. This is where the translator's responsibility for the finished product comes into play.


I'm such type B poor DTPer. Over 4 years I’ve performed DTP for all CE, EE, WE, BAL, CYR languages plus Chinese simplified and Japanese and maybe it's too difficult to understand but - Yes, I’ve done the job right! I know it because I’m always monitored by DTP Lead, QAer, LQAer (native speakers of the target language), FQCer and if there were any issues - all of these were eliminated and the final product was error free.


Sounds like a disease. Which it is, in a way...


I've seen this at the end. Do you know what the disease is? That the professional translators thinks that everyone can learn the DTP and with their elementary knowledge of double spaces, n- & m- dashes, n- & m- spaces + hairy, numeric, white and thin space etc. they will probably put to the market low quality services because the client will be happy that all orphans were eliminated for free but there will remain plenty important errors. Yes, i don't know the (f.e.) French language, grammar, stylistic rules etc. but i know quite well the French Typography rules (sometimes even better than the Frenchman because I’ve got a week ago French source with so much TYPO errors...) – there's no need to know the target language to perform the DTP process correctly. I'm doing it as a freelance since 2006 - if that's not right (that there's no need to know the target language) I’d be dead already caused by the starvation.


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Sergei Leshchinsky  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 08:45
Partial member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
A good resource on DTP-related issues Mar 26, 2009

http://www.artlebedev.com/mandership/

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Rafał Kwiatkowski  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 07:45
German to Polish
+ ...
Here You go: Mar 26, 2009

http://www.jursz.com/
http://www.microtype.com/
http://www.wpdfd.com/issues/23/typography/


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Mohamed Zain
Egypt
Local time: 07:45
English to Arabic
+ ...
Thank you for this forum! Mar 31, 2009

Thank you for this forum!, i have 5 years in DTP field if you have any questions i'm here.

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Celia Lemoine
Thank you Mauricio for the forum Apr 1, 2009

Actually I'm working doing multilingual DTP for 3 years at this moment.

Sometimes I have doubts as which Unicode font is the best to use in non latin Scripts as Khmer or Thai, etc.? and sometimes translators think that these details about the fonts are "a secret" ... So DTPers must be together!

Is great to me find DTP buddies to share my experience in these issues and learn new things about this fascinating world.


[Edited at 2009-04-01 14:35 GMT]


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Celia Lemoine
BTW, I couldn't agree more with agaetis... Apr 1, 2009

DTPers no need to know the target language only we'll need is that the translation agency ensure a procedure with after format proofing perfomed by native speakers.

Also, we can learn by practice (and asking to translators) the punctuation rules for several scripts and apply them very carefully in DTP stage. Later in proofing you'll see the results... Most of the times DTPer applied better the punctuation rules compared with translation received.

Common sense and investigation are the key to develop new skills


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 02:45
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Some misdunderstanding Apr 1, 2009

It seems that people here got the idea that I am a DTP operator who offers free proofreading services bundled with the order.

To make things clear, I am a qualified EN-PT translator and proofreader who also does DTP with PageMaker. So clients/outsourcers/fellow translators can hire me in this pair to do any of a) translation; b) proofreading; c) DTP, and pay accordingly for the services they request.

On another front, I am a DTP operator who also speaks - but doesn't translate - IT-FR-ES. So I can do DTP in any pair among these five languages without guidance, but I won't proofread anything in IT/FR/ES. If I find something in these three that looks obviously wrong to me, as a matter of courtesy (at no charge this time) I'll point it out to my client, and give them the chance to fix it... or teach me a new lesson in these languages.


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:45
Member
English to German
+ ...
I do have the feeling that layouting skills are mixed up with pre-production. Apr 2, 2009

Personally, I am talking about layouting skills. I have seen a lot of software recommendations so far. What is this good for? Pre-Press is an entirely different profession.

What a translator - willing to take care of DTP - is supposed to do:

You maintain the visual appearance of the given layout. You are capable of designing the typography of a headline, the body copy or inserts according to their meaning. You will not exceed the given space.

This can be one hell of a task.

A little bit about my background:
I learned this stuff during the usual 4 years at the university. After obtaining my degree in advertising/design/marketing I worked at advertising agencies. My first boss was the president of the German Advertising Association (like the Art Directors Club, only national). There were no computers. I won design awards before I have seen the first computer up close and before I knew what the word "software" means.
25 years ago.

DTP: I hate computer work. I never had to do it myself. I always was too expensive to sit in front of a computer. I had people. Even when accepting DTP-work these days I usually outsource it. Usually I send layout sketches to the typesetter and the typesetter will perform it the way I like it. No single piece will be delivered to the client until it is perfect.

Win-win.

You see, layouting, design, typesetting and pre-press are entirely different things.

Unfortunately, they are all called DTP.


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:45
Member
English to German
+ ...
Punctuation rules Apr 2, 2009

Ahem, such things are taught at school. As far as I recall.

[sarcasm mode on] I didn't realize that it takes a particular profession to place commas and question marks [sarcasm mode off]


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Radu Nicolaescu  Identity Verified
Romania
Local time: 08:45
Member (2006)
German to Romanian
+ ...
DTP - a must for technical translations Apr 12, 2009

I used to be mechanical engineer for about 30 years and now I do translations for catalogues, leaflets, operation manuals, service manuals, etc …
It is long time I face the problem to translate documents with keeping the original layout and quality; there are always brand-logos, images, plans with inserted text, tables (technical data, specifications, troubleshooting …), certificates …
I ever did a 500 pages catalogue in Acrobat pro with … the TouchUp tool (yes, I did it).
I consider that for technical documentation the responsibility of the translator should extend to the final layout, in order to produce a perfectly intelligible document.
Or at least he must be aware of the final editing procedures, if he is not directly involved, by large scale projects e.g.
The pdf is designed as a printing-preparation tool and not an editor. An editing/layout tool has to be used in order to get a layout and a graphic quality similar to the original.


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Hebat-Allah El Ashmawy  Identity Verified
Egypt
Local time: 07:45
Italian to Arabic
+ ...
More information about DTP Apr 21, 2009

Thank you Mauricio for the forum !
I am an arabic Translator. I can translate ENG/FR/ IT into Arabic.
I have been asked many times to review my translations after DTP work. When I got the pdf, I find an illeggible document. The DTP specialist has used a software version which did not support the Middle East languages.
How can I help my clients in this case?


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 02:45
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Font embedding in PDF Apr 21, 2009


Hebat-Allah El Ashmawy wrote:
I am an arabic Translator. I can translate ENG/FR/ IT into Arabic.
I have been asked many times to review my translations after DTP work. When I got the pdf, I find an illeggible document. The DTP specialist has used a software version which did not support the Middle East languages.
How can I help my clients in this case?


This is a common problem for all languages that use diacritics, and who needs help is actually the DTP operator.

OpenType fonts have ALL chars from ALL alphabets. TrueType fonts sometimes have all the letters and diacritics of the Latin alphabet, but some of them only have the 26 letters twice (upper and lower case), numbers 0-9, and most punctuation marks.

I see it happen in Portuguese. Sometimes accented letters are simply missing altogether in a PDF. In other cases, the ones in bold, italic or underline are replaced with the same, but "normal" letters. Every time it's a mess.

PDF files uses PostScript, a printer language, that includes a few default, ever-present fonts, such as Arial/Helvetica, Times, Courier, and a few others. Upon "distilling" a PDF file, there are some possibilities, including:
- Embed all fonts installed in the user's computer, which often leads to immense files.
- Embed subsampled fonts, i.e. including only the characters from the font actually used in the publication (i.e. a text in English will have no diacritics, so accented letters using that partially embedded font will not show)
- Do not embed fonts, and let Acrobat find it's own closest equivalents to embed.

Your specific problem here seems to be that the DTP operator is not embedding the Arabic font used in the PDF file, and that you don't have exactly the same Arabic font in your computer. Of course, Acrobat doesn't have "its own internal" Arabic fonts, and that's why nothing can be read there.

I am not thoroughly familiar with the newer versions of Acrobat. I stuck to v4, IMHO the last ever-reliable one. It's Adobe's problem if they have to go beyond perfection to keep launching and selling upgrades to pay their bills. I've had numerous cases where I was unable to open PDF files with the same (or higher) version Reader, but I never had a case of anyone having problems with my PDF files generated with v4.

Anyway, it's a matter of having the DTP operator embed the Arabic fonts they used in their PDF files. They'd better do it completely, and not just subsampled. Otherwise, when their files are sent to a printing shop, or downloaded from the web, they will be unreadable too.

One suggestion is for the DTP operator to check their PDF files in a different computer, that has Acrobat Reader, but with no Arabic fonts inslalled, before sending.


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Mauricio Coitiño  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 02:45
Member (2006)
English to Spanish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Good contribution for Arabic characters problem Apr 22, 2009

I cannot but totally agree with José Henrique. The same advice is valid for Hebrew, Vietnamese, Thai, and other non-Latin pairs.
One of the wonderful things about PDF is that you don't need to share the same applications and fonts to view the info in the file... as long as fonts are embedded.
If you intend to edit the file with a PDF editor (like Acrobat Professional), you NEED to have the fonts INSTALLED in your computer (the embedding is not enough.)
Thanks to you all,

Mauricio


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